Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Written by Jane Yolen

1 comment:

Jane said...

Another complicated book history. I wrote this book about thirty years ago (the first time) when my own children were small and playing a game they called "Soft House" by taking cushions off the sofa and building a house with blankets for a roof.

I got a lot of encouragement from a number of editors, and even rewrote the book several times for a couple of them, but no one took it. Then about ten years later, I sent it around again. Same thing--editors interested, I rewrote it a couple of times, book not taken.

Ten years later, as in an old recipe or song notation or doctor’s orders, "Repeat as needed."

And then my friend and editor Liz Bicknell left Harcourt where we’d worked so successfully together, and she moved to Candlewick. She asked me to send her EVERYTHING that Harcourt didn’t want. Among those was SOFT HOUSE. Liz had small children and fell in love with the mss. and had me rewrite it several more times. Then she bought the book and handed it over to a junior editor, Yolanda LeRoy, who had me rewrite it some more. Suddenly Yolanda was let go and went back to Charlesbridge which was (at that point) a nonfiction house, and Liz took over the book once again.

She found Wendy Anderson Halperin to do the illustrations, an artist I had met previously at a conference and had so loved her art, I had tried (unsuccessfully) to write a book for her. So I was delighted that she was to work on this book of mine.

For the completists: though my children are named Heidi, Adam, and Jason, the children in the book are Alison Isabelle and Davey. Those are Adam’s children. (Though Ali has dark hair, not blonde as in the book, and David has blonde hair, not red as in the book.)

What reviewers have said: "Who better to illustrate a tale with this title than Halperin? Furthermore, Yolen tells it as sweet as summer rain, and as directly, in this beguiling package. . ." --Kirkus

“This touching story and delightful illustrations show kids how to use their imaginations when dreadful boredom creeps in!”--Kids BookShelf